The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal today struck down a decision of a Nova Scotia Human Rights Board of Inquiry that required benefit plans to provide medical marijuana coverage when that coverage was not provided for in the plan text.

The Court of Appeal provided a detailed analysis of discrimination on the basis of disability. The Court found that non-coverage of medical marijuana did not form any basis of discrimination because its non-coverage was a result of the Board of Trustees’ decision not to provide “drug” coverage that had not been approved by Health Canada.

The impact of this decision on benefit plans across Canada is profound. Benefit plans will be able to set benefit coverage on the basis of financial ability, members’ needs and the overall health of the plan into the future, without worrying about discrimination claims for non-coverage.

You can read the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal decision here.

Pink Larkin’s Ron Pink and Jill Houlihan represented 12 health and welfare funds as intervenors in support of the right of those funds to provide benefits to its beneficiaries that are affordable in the circumstances and that are non-discriminatory.